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Free turbulent shear layer in a point vortex gas as a problem in nonequilibrium statistical mechanics

Suryanarayanan, Saikishan and Narasimha, Roddam and Dass, Hari ND (2014) Free turbulent shear layer in a point vortex gas as a problem in nonequilibrium statistical mechanics. In: PHYSICAL REVIEW E, 89 (1).

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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevE.89.013009


This paper attempts to unravel any relations that may exist between turbulent shear flows and statistical mechanics through a detailed numerical investigation in the simplest case where both can be well defined. The flow considered for the purpose is the two-dimensional (2D) temporal free shear layer with a velocity difference Delta U across it, statistically homogeneous in the streamwise direction (x) and evolving from a plane vortex sheet in the direction normal to it (y) in a periodic-in-x domain L x +/-infinity. Extensive computer simulations of the flow are carried out through appropriate initial-value problems for a ``vortex gas'' comprising N point vortices of the same strength (gamma = L Delta U/N) and sign. Such a vortex gas is known to provide weak solutions of the Euler equation. More than ten different initial-condition classes are investigated using simulations involving up to 32 000 vortices, with ensemble averages evaluated over up to 10(3) realizations and integration over 10(4)L/Delta U. The temporal evolution of such a system is found to exhibit three distinct regimes. In Regime I the evolution is strongly influenced by the initial condition, sometimes lasting a significant fraction of L/Delta U. Regime III is a long-time domain-dependent evolution towards a statistically stationary state, via ``violent'' and ``slow'' relaxations P.-H. Chavanis, Physica A 391, 3657 (2012)], over flow time scales of order 10(2) and 10(4)L/Delta U, respectively (for N = 400). The final state involves a single structure that stochastically samples the domain, possibly constituting a ``relative equilibrium.'' The vortex distribution within the structure follows a nonisotropic truncated form of the Lundgren-Pointin (L-P) equilibrium distribution (with negatively high temperatures; L-P parameter lambda close to -1). The central finding is that, in the intermediate Regime II, the spreading rate of the layer is universal over the wide range of cases considered here. The value (in terms of momentum thickness) is 0.0166 +/- 0.0002 times Delta U. Regime II, extensively studied in the turbulent shear flow literature as a self-similar ``equilibrium'' state, is, however, a part of the rapid nonequilibrium evolution of the vortex-gas system, which we term ``explosive'' as it lasts less than one L/Delta U. Regime II also exhibits significant values of N-independent two-vortex correlations, indicating that current kinetic theories that neglect correlations or consider them as O(1/N) cannot describe this regime. The evolution of the layer thickness in present simulations in Regimes I and II agree with the experimental observations of spatially evolving (3D Navier-Stokes) shear layers. Further, the vorticity-stream-function relations in Regime III are close to those computed in 2D Navier-Stokes temporal shear layers J. Sommeria, C. Staquet, and R. Robert, J. Fluid Mech. 233, 661 (1991)]. These findings suggest the dominance of what may be called the Kelvin-Biot-Savart mechanism in determining the growth of the free shear layer through large-scale momentum and vorticity dispersal.

Item Type: Journal Article
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Additional Information: Copyright for this article belongs to the AMER PHYSICAL SOC, ONE PHYSICS ELLIPSE, COLLEGE PK, MD 20740-3844 USA
Department/Centre: Division of Physical & Mathematical Sciences > Physics
Date Deposited: 23 Apr 2014 06:40
Last Modified: 23 Apr 2014 06:40
URI: http://eprints.iisc.ernet.in/id/eprint/48880

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